Study shows surgical errors are caused by a variety of reasons

There's No Substitute for Experience

Tennessee residents might like to know about the results of a recent study released by the Mayo Clinic that shows that major errors during surgery do not happen often but can occur when multiple mistakes make it possible. When researchers studied 69 of these so-called “never events” to determine why errors occurred, they found that four to nine human factors contributed to each incident.

The study looked at events that are never supposed to occur during major surgery procedures but sometimes do anyway like leaving an object in a patient, performing surgery on the wrong side or site of the body or putting in the wrong implant. All of these events took place at the Mayo Clinic facility in Rochester, Minnesota, and none of them were fatal. The rate of this happening was about one in every 22,000 procedures over the period of time that was studied, although it has been estimated that the rate around the country is once for every 12,000 procedures.

One physician associated with the Mayo Clinic said the study shows that it is important for those doing the procedures to communicate with each other and alert others to potential problems. Common human factors that led to never events consisted of four categories, which were unsafe actions, oversight and supervisory factors, organizational influences and preconditions for action. Preconditions for action refers to things like distractions, mental fatigue, stress and overconfidence while organizational influences refers to problems with operational processes or the hospital's organizational culture.

While never events are rare, the effects to a person who is harmed by a surgical error can be devastating. Such a mistake can often lead to a worsening of the patient's condition as well as the need for expensive treatment, and a person in this position may want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney to see if there is any legal recourse that may be available.

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